[REVIEW] The Heart Goes Last by Margaret Atwood

The Heart Goes Last cover

Nan A. Talese

326 pages, $26.95


Review by Mary Akers


As a thirty-year fan of Margaret Atwood, I eagerly purchased the first few episodes of The Heart Goes Last back in 2012 at Byliner, a reader’s website, when the working title was “Positron” and Atwood was still figuring out what form the story would take. When it grew into a novel and the opportunity arose to review it, I jumped at the chance.

As the novel opens, Stan and Charmaine are down-on-their-luck newlyweds. They have lost their home, their jobs, and are living out of their “third-hand Honda,” doing their best to avoid gangs of marauding rust-belt thugs after a financial crisis leaves middle class citizens marooned in a sea of debt and desperation. Continue reading

[REVIEW] Bones of an Inland Sea, by Mary Akers

Press 53
210 pages, $17.95

Review by Carmen Maria Machado

The interwoven collection—the hybrid of the story collection and novel—has always been a fascinating genre. It takes elements from each parent—the satisfaction of novel-length exploration, the brilliant individual facets of the story collection—and turns it something entirely new, and, deployed properly, entirely gratifying. In the spirit of that genre comes Bones of an Inland Sea, the newest book from Mary Akers.

The linked stories in Bones progress in rough, but not exact chronological order, from the late 19th century to an unspecified dystopian future, telling first the story of a shipwrecked sea captain’s wife, and, last, that of a prisoner of a cult on a floating island. In between, we learn the intimate details of the lives of the many people that link them to one another across the intervening centuries. These bookending stories mirror each other, both following a woman lost among many, from whom love has been snatched away. Continue reading